On the Trail

HERMANUSPIETERSFONTEIN

The South African department at K&L has a tendency to feature wines with names that are impossibly hard to pronounce. Hermanuspietersfontein—we’re going to call it “HPF” for simplicity’s sake— is one such producer, but what can we do when the wines are just flat-out delicious! You can’t be put off by a tongue twister name when the wines are this good! Winemaker Bartho Eksteen is known in South Africa as “The Sage of Sauvignon Blanc,” “The Sultan of Savvy,” and even “Monsieur Sauvignon Blanc.” He is truly regarded by his peers as the master of this varietal, and he has won just about every winemaking award under the sun including South African Winemaker of the Year. We first met Bartho in San Francisco and were very taken by the quality and complexity of his wines and the ethos of his estate. HPF is a stunning property in the greater Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. However, HPF’s specific mesoclimate and mountainous topography are so unique they actually founded their own sub-region called Sondagskloof. Bartho makes a broad selection of wines, all of which deserve a place on our shelves, but we have decided to focus on his spectacular Sauvignon Blanc.

Songdagsklook is a special place where the terroir is defined by elevation, steep aspects, ocean influence and ancient granite soils. The HPF estate is farmed very sensitively, the manta “Good Earth Makes Better Wines” is proudly adhered too. Huge areas of land is set aside to wild, indigenous flora and fauna, with the parcels of vines nestled in amongst the fynbos in this dramatic landscape. Winemaking at HPF is very simple and non-manipulative—the fruit is hand-picked, hand sorted and whole cluster pressed. Bartho is looking for purity and expression of place.

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